By Celeste Friedman

In recent weeks, there has been a deluge of articles, advice columns, radio and television interviews and panel discussions on infidelity, due to the General Petraeus scandal in the United States. Having invested in 38 years of marriage, Petraeus threw caution to the wind, having an affair with a woman he had employed to write his biography.

You may be asking still how Petraeus, the director of the CIA, kept his affair concealed for so long and if he actually believed he could be successful in this kind of deception. Inevitably, America and the rest of the world became privy to a plethora of graphic details regarding the relationship with his mistress that we didn’t really need to know.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Powerful Men Like Arnold Schwartzenegger Cheat

On HealthGuidance.org, Elizabeth Danish began her November article, “Dating A Married Man” with stark reality, that a wise woman never dates a married man. She states that if you are searching for a life-long commitment, you are sabotaging your own success by snaring another woman’s husband.

Are You Simply His Toy?

Once a boy is tired of playing with a toy, he abandons or throws it away. If you’ve run a comparison, you’ve most probably found that the cons out-weigh the pros when it comes to having an intimate relationship with a married man. Danish also brings home the point that a cheating man is the one in control of the relationship. He sees an affair as something that is romantically and sexually thrilling. It makes his life once again exhilarating and full of passion. Some men who cheat often have reinvigorated intimacy with their wives, according to Danish, in an attempt to cover their tracks, thus double dipping, if you will, between wives and mistresses.

Advantage- the Cheating Man

As long as he remains in his marriage, his priorities will be his family, as it should be. However, his mistress and best kept secret will be alone on Thanksgiving, Christmas and if it’s that important to her, Valentine’s Day. He will attempt to spend time with her before or after the holidays, to make up for not sharing in the celebrations.

Finally, Elizabeth Danish asks, “What was your goal when you started the relationship with him?” It is likely that you wanted to have a lasting relationship with someone who is mature and sensitive. If you reconsider the goal, is it really achievable?

Related: You Cheated, So Now What?

Cheaters who Cheat and the Fools who Fall for Them

Stephany Alexandre, author of the book “The Cheat Sheet”, leads you over to the dark side and into the secret lives of philanderers by giving first-hand accounts of cheating stories. Alexandre says the cheating experts know how to justify their acts, handle guilt, cope with double lives, and juggle the search for commitment with outside gratification. What are some of the signs that say he’s cheating on you? Ariana Huffington, Editor of The Huffington Post states, ‘texting is the new lipstick on the collar’.

Single 101’s take . . .

Men who pursue extra-marital affairs develop a confidence that they will never get caught, especially when they meet all of their responsibilities as a husband, a father and bread winner. The majority of cheating spouses do get away with cheating on their mates. In one study, 70% of married women and 54% of married men had no idea their spouse was involved in an affair.

No matter how deep you have fallen for a married man, it is best to pull back and wait to see if he is serious about ending his marriage. If it ends in divorce, give yourself plenty of time to see if his love for you, (if that exists) is strong enough for him to emotionally invest in a real relationship with you. The emotional cost of waiting, if he’s worth it, cancels out the shock and hurt you would experience if he cuts off the affair, due to the demands of keeping his marriage together and his infidelity unknown. Time will reveal true love. In some cases, does absence makes the heart grow fonder?

After publishing Single 101: 101 Reasons to Celebrate Being Single, I met a woman who had made a personal commitment to living out the rest of her life as a single person. She had finally freed herself of relationships that left her feeling empty and filled with disappointment. After several years, she adapted well to flying solo. If she was introduced to a man, especially someone who was also single, she looked beyond any element that would create attraction or interest. Her goal was to enjoy a life filled with true friendships where she never had to deal with a jealous spouse or boyfriend anymore.

That Unexplainable Spark

Unsuspecting to fall, she was swept off her feet by a married man who initially dropped hints of having an unsatisfactory marriage for many years and stating that it was over. As the single girl and the man grew closer, they began sharing their attraction toward each other.

In her late fifties, she does not consider herself to be desirable and have anything to physically offer a man. Self-esteem is not an issue for her within the protective walls of living independently. She has dealt with a crippling disability for many years and disturbed by the opinion of many men and women that a man will sleep with ‘anything’. However, she stepped over the threshold that she was determined never to cross and set herself up for the possibility of being disenchanted, alone and ashamed of being an ‘anything’.

She imagines what the future would be like if she were to become the next woman he cheats on, yet she cares for him so much, she cannot bring herself to label him as a cheater. As much as we try to fight or ignore it, there is unrelenting power in attraction for the right or wrong reasons. When your feelings are so strong for someone, you are blind to the realities of deception. The need to be as close as possible to someone can overpower the risk of deeply hurting others who may become affected.

Statistics show that an extremely low percentage of these affairs develop into actual committed relationships. So, do we protect ourselves and try to prevent emotional pain or do we take a chance, follow our instinct that craves intimacy, hoping that our actions may lead to real love and happiness?

To quote the lyrics from Train’s “Drive By”- “on the up-side to a downward spiral, my love for you went viral and I loved you every mile you drove away.”